Bird Seed Cake

Although our garden may resemble a postage stamp it has slowly and surely become a haven for small birds. Along with the pair of robins who reappeared last week we often see coal tits, blue tits, chaffinch, great tit, goldfinch, sparrows, wrens, very occasionally boisterous starlings…and that is where my bird identification skills end. I may have a degree in Biology but I was far more interested in odd tropical diseases, the mating rituals of fiddler crabs and what centipedes like to eat than the animals in the class of Aves. See, I warned you I was a geek.

Last year at the beginning of the festive season I remember seeing festive wreaths that were adorned with treats for birds. I had all good intention of making one this year, but time flew by. By the time the snow arrived a few days ago I decided to follow in the footsteps of a fellow workmate and make fat balls to keep the feathered friends in our garden warm throughout the winter.

Any good bird cake needs fat and seeds/nuts. Firstly in a large pan melt the fat, I used lard. The fat is not only used as the binding agent but also as an essential energy source for the birds. The fat has to be of the high-saturated kind as birds struggle to process other kinds. Vegetable fats should not be used as these are (unless they have been hydrogenated) liquid at room temperature and can ruin the balance of oils in the bird’s feathers. So best to stick to good old lard or suet. If you are using anything like peanut butter, of which birds love, add it to the fat now to let it soften. Once the fat has melted take it off the heat and stir in your other ingredients including birdseed, cereals (I’m talking oats/muesli base not Frosties!), dried fruit and nuts. These cakes are also a great way of using up stale bread and cake. Though cake in this household is rarely left to get to the state in which it is stale. Once the ingredients are combined pour into moulds. You can use empty yogurt pots, plastic cups or pour it into a lined 2lb loaf tin, leave to set. Once set, the loaf of bird cake can then be sliced and slid into a suet holder. As a rule of thumb 500g of lard plus other ingredients makes 1 x 2lb bird food cake

Of course all of the ingredients in these cakes are edible to humans, but I wouldn’t recommend eating them…unless you have a thing for lard that is.

Post Author: Jules

Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

14 thoughts on “Bird Seed Cake

  • cake room

    (December 23, 2009 - 3:25 am)

    nice article very nice about that…thank for sharring

  • Lauren

    (December 23, 2009 - 10:02 am)

    I would love to make treats for robins and other birds but would most likely get pigeons and seagulls eating mine!

  • Penny

    (December 23, 2009 - 1:46 pm)

    I’m currently trying to work out how I can fit this into our Adventure 100 badge next term. I will achieve it!

    • Jules

      (December 29, 2009 - 4:45 pm)

      Hmm, just looked at Adventure 100. Could it be linked to Ice Cool in that birds need food like this in the winter?

  • Tracy

    (December 23, 2009 - 3:39 pm)

    Having seen the price of fat balls this morning, I will definitely be trying this recipe for our feathered friends! Thanks for sharing.

  • Apryl

    (December 24, 2009 - 8:40 am)

    thank you for visiting my little blog.. your blog is beautiful.

    I would make birdy cakes but I’m afraid the cat might get them… we have two cats one is young and catches mice, the other is old, lardy, grumpy as hell, and quite dim so no luck there then.
    *wanders off to snoop around*

    • Jules

      (December 29, 2009 - 4:46 pm)

      Thank you very much Apryl for visiting.

  • PinkCat

    (December 24, 2009 - 8:52 am)

    I shall definitely be trying this out. I love looking after my feathered friends over the festive period! My robin gets fatter by the day (see my blog post today) x

  • the caked crusader

    (January 4, 2010 - 8:39 am)

    I make fat balls for our birdies – it’s so heart warming watching them tuck in!

  • Jeanne @ Cooksister!

    (January 12, 2010 - 5:12 pm)

    LOL – I was reading about fatballs this morning! Our pyracantha hedge has obviously been the last remaning edible thing since it started snowing and suddenly we have LOADS of birds all over it like a rash. mostly blackbirds, but also fieldfares, robins, blur tits, chaffinches, blackcaps, wood pigeons and (to my astonishment) a sparrowhawk, clearly hoping for a feathery canape!

    Quick question – do you have problems with bird droppings accumulating under your bird feeder??

  • Erika from The Pastry Chef At Home

    (February 21, 2010 - 10:08 pm)

    The 1st photo is so lovely! Apart from dirty pigeons, there are no lovely birds where I live (Queens, NYC) :( Bird watching at my mother in law’s house in England is always exciting! I will be sending her this post!

  • Seed Feeder

    (July 5, 2011 - 3:46 pm)

    Looks really tasty actually, but i bet the birds enjoy them more.

  • Julie Brady

    (December 12, 2012 - 8:37 pm)

    We also roll pine cones in peanut butter then straight into the bird seed. Although with the cat its not always a good idea to encourage feathered visitors

    • Jules

      (December 12, 2012 - 10:14 pm)

      I like the peanut butter idea. Thankfully no cats here.

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